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Thursday, October 2, 2008

Dubunking Coupon Myths

There was a time in my life that I hated coupons (I know --gasp!). I was embarrassed when my mother used them and even swore, "I'll never use coupons." I remember walking away when we were in the checkout line because I knew there was a line forming behind my mother and her 40 coupons.

I thought they were such a hassle and made you look cheap. I really thought that it wasn't ever worth it to clip, sort, stack -- all to save 35-cents.

Now that I'm the crazy lady with 40 coupons, I know just how ridiculous my misconpcetions once were.

If you aren't a regular couponer or are new to the coupon world, follow along as I debunk my top 10 coupon myths (as I once believed them)...

10 Common Myths About Using Coupons:
  1. "Who cares if I save 35-cents?" -- Well, every little bit does add up. But, with so many stores doubling or tripling coupons, even those small "cents-ers" stack up to another dollar off your bill (and another and another). And, truthfully, I see way more $1.00 -2.00 off coupons floating around than I do .35 "cents-ers." Even though Walgreens and CVS don't double coupons, they have their own set of coupons which can be stacked with manufacturer coupons. Many times this works out to mean FREE items!
  2. "They're all for unhealthy food." -- I feel that one. We eat a lot of organic and natural products, not all but mostly. True, I don't see a lot of "healthy" coupons in the papers but that doesn't stop me from getting them. Drop a quick email to your favorite healthy companies and watch your mailbox fill up with discounts.

  3. "I'll never use those coupons." When I first started couponing, I remember going through the Sunday ads thinking: I don't use that. Skip that one. We'll never buy that. I soon realized that some of those things that I thought we'd never buy, I bought. Not just because I had a coupon for it, but because I could actually get the items for cheap or FREE. I clip all the coupons and many I don't use, but if I see an item on sale or clearance I'll do a quick check to see if I have a coupon for it. If I do, and I can get the product for super cheap (or better yet, free). Alot of items I've been able to stack with coupons when on sale and I've actually made money on the deal (overage). For those coupons that you don't use or don't think you'll use, save them anyway. Often times you'll find those things on sale, especially a couple of weeks after they come out in the paper.
  4. "I don't have time." -- Yes, you do... Clip the coupons while watching TV or, better yet, have the kids do them as one of their chores. If you have older kids have them sort them, too. Trust me, it doesn't take much time at all to snip and stuff. There's no rule that says you have to get them all organized the day the paper comes... wait a couple days if you want until you have a few minutes spare.
  5. "I'm not organized enough." -- Even though I am a very organized person, I can see how some may be put off by trying to keep their coupons straight. My husband gets overwhelmed when I send him off to the store with more than one. The key here is to set up a system that works for you and to keep it up. If you spend that extra 5 minutes organizing them once they're clipped, you'll save yourself from feeling overwhelmed.
  6. "I already save money by buying on sale." -- As you should. I have discovered that there is NO need to pay full price anymore. But, what if I told you that deodorant you just bought on sale you could actually get for FREE? And that shampoo, body wash, toothpaste, those razors? All FREE! It's very, very easy to do. A sale is good, but FREE is even better.
  7. "We're not poor, we don't need to use coupons." We're not poor either, but we are smart. :) Whether you are bankrupt or a millionaire, saving money is a wise thing to do. The misconception that even I once had is just not true. Coupons are not the same thing as food stamps and, truthfully, more "average" families use coupons than lower income ones.
  8. "I already shop at discount stores." True, the dollar store can be a great resource for some items. The problem, though, is that they don't have store deals (sales). If you buy that same item on sale and stacked with a coupon elsewhere you just might be able to get it for free.
  9. "I'll have to buy generic brands." I thought this, too. I thought the better deal was going to be on generic brands and (call it "vain"), I didn't want to use unknown brands on my hair, face, etc. Actually, what I've discovered is that name brands are cheaper than the knock-offs. You will find many, many more coupons for name brands which translates in to BIG bargains on those products.
  10. "I'll spend more money by using coupons." If you bought everything you had a coupon for (just because you had a coupon for it) then, yes, you'd waste a lot of money. Be sensible about spotting a good deal and creating your stockpile. Sometimes, especially at CVS or Walgreens, I will spend a little more out-of-pocket than I normally would like -- this is usually because many of the items will be free after I get the rebates back. I set a budget for myself and, although, I spend money initially, I think ahead to the rebates I'll be getting back and how I can use that money to save on the next shopping trip. And on that next shopping trip, you can use your rebates and coupons to score free items. It's a great feeling walking out of the store not owing a cent!

Check out my tips for Stockpiling and Getting Items for FREE!


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